5 Reasons to Reduce Food Waste and Promote Sustainable Consumption Patterns

One fifth of all food ends up being discarded, while one third of humanity grapples with food insecurity.

Date Published
28 Mar 2024
Series Title
5 Facts

The Food Waste Index 2024, launched by the United Nations Environment Programme, sheds light on the worldwide issue of food waste, providing valuable insights into its prevalence, impacts and potential solutions. With a focus on reducing food waste and promoting sustainable consumption patterns, this report presents crucial findings that highlight the urgency of action to address this pressing issue.

  1. Food waste is a staggering global concern

    The Food Waste Index 2024 reveals the extent of food waste worldwide, underscoring its status as a critical global issue. With approximately over 1 billion tons of food wasted in 2022, equivalent to roughly 17 per cent of total food available for consumption, the report highlights the magnitude of the challenge and the urgent need for intervention.

  2. Food waste has a significant toll on the environment

    Beyond its implications for food security and hunger, food waste imposes a significant toll on the environment. The report highlights the environmental impacts of food waste, such as greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. By addressing food waste, we can mitigate these adverse environmental consequences on the road to achieving climate and biodiversity targets and advance towards a more sustainable future.

  3. The costs associated with food waste are striking

    The economic costs of food waste are substantial, according to the report. The value of wasted food annually is estimated at over $1 trillion, representing a significant drain on economies. By reducing food waste, we can unlock economic opportunities, enhance resource efficiency and contribute to economic resilience and prosperity.

  4. Food waste poses a threat to the resilience and sustainability of food systems worldwide

    The report underscores the importance of tackling food waste as a critical component of efforts to build resilient and sustainable food systems. By addressing inefficiencies in food production, distribution and consumption, we can enhance the resilience of food systems and promote food security for all.

  5. Valuing resources is key in reducing food waste and promoting sustainability

    In an interconnected world, where we get the materials for things we use every day, what we do with them can influence risk tipping points that are felt globally, as they cause ripple effects through food systems, the economy and the environment. Despite this, we often view food as disposable, and give little thought to the real cost and effort of food production and the moral implications of wasting it. The UNU-EHS Interconnected Disaster Risks report emphasizes the need to transform our way of thinking towards a view that values resources beyond their immediate use, eliminate excessive waste from our systems and promote sustainability. This approach involves recognizing the intrinsic value of materials, optimizing resource usage, promoting greater transparency and accountability in supply chains and fostering mutual respect with nature.

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